The dawn of a new era
15th August 2014
I'm not going to tread on eggshells around the elephant in this blog, so I'll just get it out of the way early. It's sad that we cannot celebrate the emergence of a fantastic new heavy metal group without bringing up the rather sensitive topic of an ex-bandmate attempting to hire a hitman to knock off his wife, but in the case of Wovenwar it has to be done because it's at the core of the differences between the bands.
Gone with Tim Lambesis are the heavy shouting vocals, and in comes Oh, Sleeper's clean vocalist Shane Blay. Aside from that, Wovenwar's lineup is unchanged from As I Lay Dying, right down to the album producer from Awakened, Bill Stevenson.
The sound is familiar, and yet utterly different. Wovenwar is arguably not a metalcore band; the heavy breakdowns are still there but to a much less dramatic extent, and there's a heavier leaning towards the genre's melodeath roots - songs like The Tempest sound like they could easily have been written by Soilwork, for example - and unlike AILD, the slowest songs on the album (Father/Son and Prophets) are actually slow ballads as opposed to a metalcore song with the distortion turned down a little. Even outside of the vocals, it's a considerably lighter album than anything ever released with Lambesis in the band.
One of the most noticeable differences for me is the lack of focus on Jordan Mancino's drumming which has been turned down significantly for the album, and more focus given to the vocals. The riffwork on some songs bear all the hallmarks of Hipa and Sgrosso's striking style, most noticeably on The Mason, and the lead single, All Rise, both of which sound like they could have been lifted from AILD's Shadows Are Security.
Unfortunately some other songs do blend into genericity, and at an above-average 54 minutes in length, it's of my opinion that the album could have done without songs like Moving Up
That said, 90% of the album is superb and it's apparent that there is life for the band members going forward. I'm sure they don't want sympathy but as a massive fan of the music it's an absolute shame to see As I Lay Dying go down, and it would be completely unfair for the rest of the band to lose their reputation as outstanding people and musicians due to the antics of a roid-raging friend.
Here's to a new era.